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The worst advice we've ever heard about inbound marketing

Sarah McIntyre About The Author

Fri, Jun 30, 2017

It is really easy for a beginner to inbound marketing to be led astray. There are so many self-identified experts giving bad advice. It is easy to fall victim, especially for someone who has done traditional marketing their whole life. Inbound is a seemingly new strategy. So, many small business owners become overwhelmed and seek guidance. Today's article shares some of the worst advice we've heard about inbound marketing, shared with us when we spoke to business owners. Some of it will have you saying what the?

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1. Inbound marketing is the new SEO. - Nope. Both inbound marketing and SEO are focused on attracting organic traffic to your business website. However, they are not the same thing and the terms are not synonymous. That said, the two strategies work best when they work together.  Great content is a fundamental part of SEO, which is a fundamental part of inbound  marketing.

2. Inbound marketing is just a fad and will disappear. - It is easy to dismiss new technology and trends. Nevertheless, inbound marketing is merely a new term for a marketing strategy that has been around forever. It is all about understanding your target market, making yourself visible and earning trust. The only difference is that inbound marketing leverages modern technology so you can do this at scale and measure it as you go... rather than at the end of a campaign.

3. Traditional marketing is dead. Inbound marketing is all you need. - This is an example of puffery and overselling expectations. While inbound marketing is an effective way to attract an audience and generate leads, it works best when it is supplemented with other methods. Every salesperson dreams of hot leads flowing to them. Inbound marketing targets consumers at every stage of the life-cycle, but it will never eliminate the need for a truly integrated, multi-channel approach to marketing.  But it can help incredibly with marketing accountablity and marketing and sales alignment. 

4. Inbound marketing is so easy you can do it yourself - Talk about setting unrealistic expectations. The fact is that inbound marketing requires a team with many different skill sets. There is strategy, SEO, content writing, social media marketing, video production, graphic design, email marketing, lead scoring, data analysis, and more. It is just impossible for one person to handle everything.

5. Inbound marketing can be done without paying for outside services. -  Much like the previous false advice, there is no free lunch. Yes, inbound marketing does focus a lot of attention on generating organic/free traffic. Nonetheless, there is a lot of time, energy, and resources involved in doing this. Even large corporations struggle to resource inbound marketing purely from internal resources.  An investment in training and or outsourcing is typically required. 

6. Inbound marketing is just the new term for content marketing. - This is along the same lines as the SEO statement. Content marketing is a fundamental component of inbound marketing, but alone it is not the same thing. Inbound marketing is a much more comprehensive system for generating leads. While content marketing can produce some of the same results, they are different.

7. Inbound marketing has an executable formula. - This is likely the worst advice of all. Some are advocating following a checklist of actions. It is sometimes along the lines of 1 blog article a month, 3 posts to Facebook a week, 5 tweets daily on Twitter, and so on from there. This type of formulaic approach just does not work. There are general structures and commonly used tactics, but there is no one-size-fits-all formula.  The good thing about inbound is that you build your foundations on customer insight, then gather the data as you go to enable you to iterate on the program as you execute.

This article listed some of the worst advice we've heard about inbound marketing, but I'm sure there are still more. Have you heard any other doozys?  

Ultimately, inbound marketing is about focusing on your customers, not you. It is about being authentic and taking a human approach. Moreover, it shows that your business is sincere about bringing value to people. Many marketers still have a problem comprehending these facts. 

 We've pulled together some of the critical Hubspot implementation mistakes in this checklist here.  So you don't make the same errors with your inbound marketing.

Hubspot mistakes checklist